China’s economy contracted in the three months ending in June compared with the previous quarter after Shanghai and other cities were shut down to fight coronavirus outbreaks, but the government said a ”stable recovery” is underway.
The economy shrank by 2.6 percent, compared with the January-March period’s already weak quarter-on-quarter rate of 1.4 percent, official data showed Friday. Compared with a year earlier, which can hide recent fluctuations, growth slid to a weak 0.4 percent from the earlier quarter’s 4.8 percent.
Anti-virus controls shut down Shanghai, the site of the world’s busiest port, and other manufacturing centers starting in late March, fuelling concerns global trade and manufacturing might be disrupted. Millions of families were confined to their homes, depressing consumer spending.
Factories and offices were allowed to start reopening in May, but economists say it will be weeks or months before activity returns to normal. Economists and business groups say China’s trading partners will feel the impact of shipping disruptions over the next few months.
”The resurgence of the pandemic was effectively contained,” the statistics bureau said in a statement. ”The national economy registered a stable recovery.” The ruling Communist Party is promising companies tax refunds, free rent, and other aid to get back on their feet, but most forecasters expect China to fail to hit the ruling party’s 5.5 percent growth target this year.
Growth for the first half of the year was 2.5 percent over a year earlier, one of the weakest levels in the past three decades.
Retail sales were off 0.7 percent from a year earlier in the first half after plunging 11 percent in April.
Investment in factories, real estate, and other fixed assets climbed 6.1 percent, reflecting the ruling party’s effort to stimulate growth by boosting spending on public works construction and ordering state-owned companies to spend more.